Nantahala Falls and White Water Rafting, North Carolina
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We arrived before dark and the temperature was cool enough to have a campfire. Greg and Donna arrived around 8:30. We were all anticipating a great day of rafting on Saturday.
Soon after we went to bed, the rains started. It rained and rained and rained. It was raining when we woke up. The rafting place has a no refunds policy. You go rafting rain or shine. The day was starting out as a bummer. We left the campground in the rain and drove to a local Old Fort attraction Laurie wanted to show everyone, Adrews Geyser. We drove there in the rain, got out and walked around in the rain. The geyser was broken again.
So we headed west toward Bryson City, in the rain. However the closer we got, the lighter the sky became. The weather actually turned out pretty nice. Partly cloudy at the start of the rafting trip and sunshine half way down the river. It turned out to be a perfect trip. Later when we drove back to the campground it rained, and rained. I was not able to have a camp fire Saturday night.
But this story is not about the rain. It is about the river. Donna and Laurie chickened out so we got a single 4 person raft instead of 2 Double Duckies. We signed the usual liability forms, watched the safety video and got our gear. I am surprised we did not have to sign a liability for for the bus ride up the river. I think the driver only had one speed, pedal to the floor.
But we got safely to the river and took off. The boys quickly got the hang of the Duckies and the 4 of us organized ourselves with Greg in the back as the captain and me, with only good eye, in the front as lookout. The two girls were in the rowing section to provide power. Off we went.
Things went well. Within 1/4 mile of the start of the trip are a series of rapids named Pattons Run. Unprepared rafters usually hit trouble here. We sailed through them with no problems. After about 1/2 hour we pulled over, took a rest break and talked about the fun we were having. But the best fun was yet to be had.
We cast off again for more adventures. I don't have a water proof camera and Bradley was not filming us so I have to tell this story from memory. But it is a vivid memory. We went through a medium sized rapid just like several we had already conquered. We went through it at a slight angle and the right rear of the raft hit a rock and bounced sideways. Greg was sitting in the right rear of the raft. I was looking right at him. Then I was not. But I saw it all. The raft was under Greg. Then it was not. He went backwards off the raft with his knees tucked up under his chin and hit the water upside down, head first. No yell, no look of surprise, sun glasses perfectly placed. It was like he planned it. And the water was deep and clear so I could see him underwater, upside down. He went completely under.
He quickly bubbled back to the surface and I was almost crying from holding in my laughter. I knew I needed to wait until Donna saw he was alright and give Greg time to get back into the raft. Another passing raft had to snag him and drag him over to us. He never lost his sun glasses through the whole thing. I can close my eyes even now and see him going backwards over the raft.
I became captain and he took the front lookout. The rest of the trip was uneventful, except, when it was not. We got to the pull out just above Nantahala Falls where everyone walks down to the Falls to plan their attack. The boys decided to go first and I was going to video them. I goofed up and did not get video but Bradley did. Tucker had some difficulty in the Falls. The two photos below are screen shots from Bradley's video camera. Check out Tucker's leg in the black box in the photos. That is not the way to raft the Falls.
Tucker went out of the Duckie. That is his leg in the square box.
Tucker went out of the Duckie. That is his leg in the square box. He is coming back up.
The next photo is a still shot from Bradley's video camera while he is in the falls. The camera is partially under water. That is not the way to raft the Falls either. The next two photos are actually videos. The first one is normal speed through the Falls. The second one is a short clip while Bradley is in the middle of the Falls and has been slowed down so you can see all the action. The audio is screwed up, so ignore that.
In the map further down are a number of camera icons and a waterfall icon. Click them to see more photos. You can also go here to see all the photos from the weekend. It was a blast. If you want to try white water rafting I highly recommend the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
Screen shot of the video. Bradley almost flips. His Duckie fills with water and the Duckie tilts 90 degrees. Here the camera is partially under water.
The audio is out of sync but this is a segment from the previous video in slow motion
The boys chillin' out after a hard day of rafting.
Tucker, Bradley, Austin
You may be interested in the next article, Roaring Fork Falls, North Carolina.
The previous article is Mingo Falls, North Carolina.
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© Bobby Daniel